US, South Korea stage joint drill near North Korea border
Iran Press TV
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:52PM
US and South Korean troops have staged a joint drill in a village near the North Korean border in what could reignite anger in Pyongyang about increased provocations by the two allies.
The drill on Tuesday saw troops engaged in a mock battle to retake a village located across forested hillsides near the Demilitarized Zone, the world's most heavily defended frontier, which separates the two Koreas.
Rob Kimmel, the Battalion Commander from the U.S. 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, said 700 troops were contributing to the four-day drill, dubbed Warrior Strike 8, which he said would test the readiness on the ground to face potential threats from North Korea.
"That's enemy fire trying to attack R.O.K. forces located there," Kimmel said, using the acronym for South Korea's official name, which is the Republic of Korea.
Kimmel said his team, which was originally based in Fort Hood, Texas, was in South Korea as part of a nine-month deployment.
"It's a big milestone type of exercise... We'll do two to three of these while we're here," he said, adding, "We are continuing to train for situations that may arise."
The mock battle and the call on the media people to watch them comes amid heightened tensions in the Korean peninsula, where the United States and South Korea have increased their military activity in the wake of North Korea's testing of two intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
Pyongyang has warned the US that ground and bombing drills by the two allies could spark a nuclear war. North Korean military warned last month that it had plans for targeting waters near the US island of Guam in the Pacific, prompting fears in the US about a real confrontation.
The joint drill comes as Russia and China, two countries with relatively close ties to North Korea, also embarked on a military exercise on Monday off the Russian far eastern port of Vladivostok, which is not far from the Russia-North Korea border. The two countries have repeatedly asked for easing of tensions in the Korean peninsula, saying the issue has no military solution.
The US and South Korea ended a 1950-53 war with North Korea through a truce, not a peace treaty, which effectively leaves the two sides of the conflict technically at war.
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